Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Russian Cybercrook Gets 18 Months for IRS E-Filing Scam

Kevin Poulsen writes on Threat Level:

A Russian man was sentenced to 18 months in prison Monday for a phishing attack that diverted $100,000 in U.S. tax refunds to bank accounts under his control.

Maxim Maltsev, 24, of the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, ran the caper while he was living in the sunnier climes of San Diego in 2006, according to court records. Maltsev used a spam campaign to trick people into submitting their tax returns to his fake e-filing site. Before re-submitting them to a real e-filing website, he modified the returns to direct the refunds into bank accounts he and his accomplices opened at several San Diego banks.

By the time the feds caught on to the scam, Maltsev had apparently returned to Russia. But he was arrested last April at San Francisco International Airport after flying back to the states.

Prosecutors recommended the low end of the 12 - 18 month range suggested by federal sentencing guidelines, and Maltsev’s defense attorney asked for even less time. But U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns in San Diego suspected Maltsev’s return to America wasn’t for a vacation.

More here.


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